Humans have always used denial. When we are afraid, guilty, confused, or when something interferes with our self-image, we tend to deny it. Yet denial is a delusion. When it impacts on the health of oneself, or society, or the world it becomes a pathology. Climate change denial is such a case. Paradoxically, as the climate science has become more certain, denial about the issue has increased. The paradox lies in the denial. There is a denial industry funded by the fossil fuel companies that literally denies the science, and seeks to confuse the public. There is denial within governments, where spin-doctors use 'weasel words' to pretend they are taking action. However there is also denial within most of us, the citizenry. We let denial prosper and we resist the science.
Climate Change Denial examines the nature of climate change denial, its history, how we let denial prosper, and how we can roll back denial. It summarises the climate science and explains uncertainty and probability. It also explains the social science behind denial. It contains a detailed examination of the principal climate change denial arguments, from attacks on the integrity of scientists, to impossible expectations of proof and certainty to the cherry picking of data. Climate change can be solved – but only when we cease to deny that it exists. Climate Change Denial shows how we can break through denial, accept reality, and thus solve the climate crisis. It will engage scientists, university students, climate change activists as well as the general public seeking to roll back denial and act.
1. Denial and the Nature of Science
2. Climate science
3. The Five Types of Climate Change Denial Arguments
4. The History of Denial
5. Do We Let Denial Prosper?
6. Rolling Back Denial - the Big Picture
7. Rolling Back Denial - the Technological Solutions
Summary and Conclusion
Dr. Haydn Washington is an environmental scientist of 35 years experience. Originally a plant ecologist, he worked in CSIRO on heavy metal pollution for 7 years and did his M.Sc in that field. He later did his PhD "The Wilderness Knot" in social ecology, looking at the tangled meanings (and denial) around wilderness. He has worked extensively on environmental and sustainability issues. This is his fourth book on environmental issues, and he has been researching climate change since his 1991 book Ecosolutions.
John Cook studied physics at the University of Queensland, Australia. After graduating, he majored in solar physics in his post-grad honours year. His interest in climate science began when he was given a speech by prominent 'skeptic' U.S. senator, James Inhofe. Researching the various skeptic arguments presented by Senator Inhofe revealed many fundamental scientific flaws. This led Cook to begin cataloguing the full range of skeptic arguments and documenting what the peer-review science said about each topic. This work formed the basis of the skepticalscience.com website which aims to communicate the peer-reviewed science to a broader audience.
"This book is a must have for anyone trying to understand the climate change issue. Washington and Cook use impressive skill to peel back the lies and deceit associated with a well oiled machine, used for selling tobacco and now selling manufactured doubt about climate change."
– Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of Global Change Institute, University of Queensland
"In engaging, easy-to-understand language, Climate Change Denial tells us all we need to know about global warming denial, explaining why, even though the scientific evidence is irrefutable, denial continues to prosper. We learn the arguments and techniques the deniers use and how easily they are refuted. Most important, the book shows us that if we and our elected leaders pull our heads out of the sand, there is still time to find a path to a sustainable, livable future."
– James Lawrence Powell, author of 2084 and The Inquisition of Climate Science